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Museum Friends News

Chairman's Report

Welcome to our 2018 Autumn Newsletter. I hope you all enjoyed the excellent summer we have had and took full advantage of the sunshine. My report is brief as we have had only one visit this summer, to Ewelme which was extremely interesting and lifted the lid on what an extraordinary village it is with unexpected connections to the world. Unfortunately, there seems little improvement on the attendance to our monthly meetings, and the decision will perhaps be made that these will cease. The Museum itself and the various displays and exhibitions have been, once again, excellent. The one on exploring Abingdon’s past was particularly good and was one I enjoyed personally. Thanks to Abingdon Archaeological and Historical Society having staged this exhibition. The anniversary of the Great War ending will be celebrated, and the Museum is putting on an exhibition of posters from the period of the Great War which gives an insight into life at that time. Our Fish and Chip Quiz will take place on 13th October, we are a little short on numbers, so anyone interested please contact me as soon as possible.
My good wishes to you all.

Sue Stevens

Dates and venues for talks 2018-19 19:00 for 19:30
in St. Helen’s Church Centre:

  • Oct. 4th Sharon Williams – ‘Wychwood Forest - from Domesday to the Present’
  • Nov. 1st John Orchard – ‘Abingdon in the Civil War’
  • Dec. 6th Simon Wenham – ‘Sculls, skiffs, and steamers: The History of Salter’s Steamers’
  • Feb. 7th 2019 Martin Buckland – ‘The Invisible Brick – Revealed in Language and Literature, Film and Fiction, Music and Murder, and much more’
  • March 7th Richard Dudding – ‘Gentry, yeomen & land in 17th century Radley’
  • April 4th AGM – Trevor Rowley – ‘The Landscape of the Bayeux Tapestry’

Museum News, October 2018

Saturday 6th October will see the start of two exhibitions centred around the First World War. First a mini exhibition, running until 28th October, on the role of the Indian Army during the Great War, which explores the historical connections between the British Indian Army and the local communities of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. This touring exhibition has been put together by Oxford historian Dr Priya Atwal and heritage consultant Stephen Barker, with the support of academic leads Dr Jeanette Atkinson and Professor Adrian Gregory. The content of the exhibition is based in part on new research conducted by the team into the previously unstudied archives of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, which contain fascinating material relating to the activities of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in India and the Middle East from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
This will be joined by our own ‘Great War Propaganda’ exhibition, which will showcase and explore the imagery of wartime conscription and propaganda posters to help us to create a picture of life in Britain and on the frontlines of the 1914-1918 conflict. The Great War Propaganda exhibition will run until 23rd December, posters and further information on these exhibits can be found below.

Family Activities and Workshops

Wild Art activity day

Bring the outdoors in this 25th October with our autumnal activities; making hedgehogs and clay models. Also have a go at fabric printing using plants, leaves, and other natural objects.

Talks and Lectures

1918: A Lecture and Ordnance Display

Finally, returning to the Great War theme, will be an exciting lecture by BBC Historian Gareth Howell and Rick Stevens exploring the final year of the First World War; to what extent did American assistance aid the European efforts, and what was the ultimate outcome of the war? The lecture will take place 9th November 19:00-21:30 at the Amey Theatre in Abingdon School. The theatre is wheelchair accessible and tickets are on sale at the museum now.

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From the Treasurer

Subscriptions 2018/2019

Subscriptions are due from the 1st March 2018.  Please send them direct to the Treasurer.

The rates are – Single £10      Couple/Family £15

Please send your cheque together with the slip below to the Treasurer:

Peter Clare, 24 Wootton Road, Abingdon, OX14 1JD. 

Email: petersusan.clare@btinternet.com

(If you wish to pay by Standing Order in future please contact the Treasurer, preferably by email, for a Standing Order form).

On behalf of the Museum and the Friends many thanks for your continued support.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Abingdon Museum Friends

Membership Form 2018/2019

I enclose my/our subscription of £………………….. for 2018/19  

Name …………………………………….…… Address ………………..………………………………………

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Tel. …………………………..   E-mail …………………………………………………………………………..

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Booking Form

Sunday 15th July 2018, 2.30 pm.

Guided tour of historic Ewelme which has the finest complex of early brick building in the country with its school, alms-houses and church (with Chaucer family connections) all dating from the
mid-15th century.  Our guide will be a renowned local historian.

The school will be open for teas after the tour.  As car parking is limited, we have been asked to share cars whenever possible.

I/we would like to book……places for the tour of Ewelme.

I/we can offer a lift for……..people.

I/we would like a lift for….. people.

Name/s………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Tel. No:…………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………..

E-mail:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

There is no charge for this visit, but a donation to the church would be greatly appreciated.

There is a limit of 20 people on this tour, so please book as soon as possible.

The closing date for booking is June 25th.

Please return to: Gaby Lloyd, 11, Harcourt Way, Abingdon , OX14 1NU

Or by email to: gabylloyd@btinternet.com

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From the archives

Report on BAFM SE(W) Regional Conference from autumn 2015 newsletter

Abingdon Museum Friends hosted this Conference last year and I was very happy to attend the Conference this year when it was held in Reading Museum.  Having made quite a number of visits to Reading for shopping I had missed the opportunity to visit Reading Museum.  The building is a very grand Victorian affair but very beautiful in that unique Victorian way.  The conference was a delight, well organised, lots of information and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  It was very well attended, representatives from a very varied selection of museums within the SE(W) area.  Delegates had elected beforehand which of the talks they would attend and after the initial introductions and history of the building by the Museum manager we formed our groups.  My choice was Young Friends/Kids in Museums: to attract young people into Museums obviously was a challenge for all and even though the ideas were there, there was certain lack of ideas when it came to middle years teenagers and how to engage them in the Museum.  Starting youth panels or organising days in local Museums needs a lot co-operation with local schools.  Members of my group had had various degrees of success but it seemed these were just one-off situations.  I felt that it was very much down to the individual Museum to organise and although the ideas were there implementation would be difficult.  The workshop was interesting and gave food for thought.  The second session I chose was a tour of Reading’s Bayeux Tapestry which was excellent – Ben Bishop, Museum Gallery Assistant - gave a detailed and most enjoyable storyline of the tapestry. 

Much of the talk at the Conference was of ways of keeping Museums friendly, open places. Reading Museum Friends have a coffee morning once a month for their members for a general get together which is an idea that we could take up as the Mousehole is now run by the Museum.  I have promised myself I will return to Reading Museum because there was much more to see and I can recommend it as a place to visit, please do so if you can.

Sue Stevens


Three Visits organised in summer 2015

BMW, Cowley

Thirteen of us visited the BMW plant Cowley.  We had an excellent guided tour by John, who had worked at both the old Cowley works in the good old days and also at the ultra-modern, very efficient works.  Everything is calculated to the minute.  Tea and coffee breaks are exactly 14 minutes long.  Time is money and nothing must halt the production line.  A very interesting afternoon.          

Pam Martin

 

Print Room of the Department of Western Art

The friends who crowded into the Print Room of the Department of Western Art were treated to most informative and beautiful hour by the curator who displayed a representative selection of the illustrations stored there.  For those of us unable to go on this visit The Ashmolean’s website has most of the collection available online.

Peter Hallowell

 

Haseley Court Gardens

We were treated to rare treat when we were able to visit this beautiful garden which is not normally open to the public.  The owner, Mrs Fiona Heyward, gave us a short talk about its history: how, after years of neglect, it had been rescued in the 1950s by the famous American interior designer, the late Nancy Lancaster.  She then led us on a conducted tour of the garden enabling us to enjoy its many features including sunken garden with a giant topiary chess set, a walled garden with a mix of roses, perennials, biennials and annuals, a hornbeam tunnel, a potager, a scented white garden, a pink garden and a parterre all within a total area of eight acres.  I hope the photographs give some indication of just how splendid it is.

Peter Hallowell

 


Events and Talks archive

 

Concert with Wantage Male Voice Choir April 2013

For our last fund raising effort for the Museum Appeal, the Wantage Male Voice Choir came and gave a concert in the beautiful setting of St. Helen’s Church. With their conductor Cathie and accompanist Lorraine, 25 men sang a range of popular songs, old and new, from the musicals and by much-loved composers, taking full advantage of the great acoustics. There were several solos, some of which were sung, others recited, and the programme was varied in both mood and pace. For the “Song of the Jolly Roger”, formality was thrown to the winds as eye patches, pirate hats and even a parrot were produced. Drinks and good conversation peppered the interval in which the bar dispensed the drinks included in the price of the ticket and members of the Choir mingled with the audience to increase the intimacy of the occasion. There was a very good turnout and the audience enjoyed it all. It was a most successful event, raising just over £700; this will be doubled by the Lottery Fund. An enormous thank you to the Choir and to everyone who came and helped.


Fish and Chip Supper Quiz March 2013

This year’s Quiz took place yet again to a packed house. Lots of new faces in the crowd showed the event has taken off like a rocket and it was a sell-out before the tickets went on general sale. Despite the odd remark that some of the questions were hard (who can’t tell the difference between the feet of a camel and those of a giraffe?), and the Quizmaster getting an answer wrong through overwork (at least that’s her excuse!), there was a great atmosphere helped, no doubt, by many visits to the bar. The fish and chips arrived on time this year, although the designated collectors couldn’t find the van and were rushing round the area desperately trying to locate it, and were delicious. Many thanks to all those who contributed to the raffle, both with prizes and with ticket purchases, and to our anonymous donor who gave the prizes for everyone on the winning table. This year the losers each received a small Easter egg, but the battle was close fought and everyone did well. We raised over £300 and this will be matched by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Well worth the effort and a big “thank you” to the Friends’ Committee who worked so hard to make this a great evening.


Open Gardens June 2012

For the third time in 2 years, our Saturday Open Gardens event took place in dry weather, certainly almost miraculous this year. With 3 gardens to relax in and enjoy in East St. Helen Street, many people took advantage and came to admire the splendid array of colour and the luxurious lawns that the gardens offered. The roses, particularly, seemed to have flourished in the wet and cool conditions and their wonderful displays were remarked upon and photographed with great enthusiasm. St Ethelwold’s offered us the Garden Room to provide a place to have refreshments, and many visitors took their delicious cakes out into the fresh air and enjoyed the river views. The event made £550 which will be doubled by the Heritage Lottery Fund. So a worthwhile effort from the gardeners, who battled against all the odds to get their colourful havens looking so beautiful in time for the day. And who also sat at the door and explained to everyone how they manage the plantings. Susie Howard’s ability to keep her plants from being eaten by slugs was a cause of wonder, as she uses only organic and natural repellants. Take note – we do not need to use harsh methods to have a wonderful display. A huge thank you to everyone involved – Mr and Mrs Higham, Mr and Mrs Howard, St. Ethelwolds and all the volunteers who sat at the gates, donated cake, made tea and washed up the million cups and plates. See you next year?

There is a special message from Julie Mayhew-Archer, the Councillor who has represented the Museum for many years, She says Can I congratulate and thank everyone who helped with this very successful event, particularly the kind homeowners who opened their gardens. They were picture perfect. It raised almost as much money as last year and was much appreciated


Cheese and Wine Party May 2012

Choosing the first fine evening in the month, Fredericka Smith and John Elston hosted a wonderful cheese and wine party to help raise funds for Abingdon County Hall Museum. It was attended by almost 100 people, not just Museum Friends but personal friends and neighbours of the hosts and other interested parties. As the wine flowed freely and everyone tackled the huge range of cheeses on offer, so many that they needed two tables in two rooms to hold it all, the marvellous atmosphere encouraged everyone to donate most generously. This was greatly capitalised on by the extra help drafted in, in the form of the family offspring and their friends, especially for the raffle, which alone made several hundred pounds. The raffle prizes were enticing, with a brand-new vacuum cleaner, a glider flight, a photographic session, a handmade cot quilt and a beautiful oil painting of a heron (donated by Charlotte Elston) amongst the goodies. The event raised just under £1500, the single largest amount raised in one effort. Huge thanks are due to Fredericka and all her family – for opening their lovely house, for donating all the victuals, for attending so well to the parking arrangements, for moving much furniture and for ensuring that the weather was so good. And to everyone who donated so generously, some of whom couldn’t actually come in person. A very big vote of thanks is given to Miele Abingdon, Windrushers Gliding Club, Faulkener Photographers and to everyone who gave a prize towards the raffle. A triple gold star effort.

 

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